The internet is an increasingly risky place for young males to spend time. It allows perverted persons to gain anonymous and often low-risk access to child victims for sexual exploitation. Online chat rooms, gaming sites and file transfer systems provide the tools for offenders to sexually abuse and exploit young males.
Whilst young girls are at increased risk of becoming victims of sexual assault and online sexual solicitation, young males are twice as likely as young females to be targeted by paedophiles.
Online predators who show a preference for males are more likely to victimize male children outside family connections, and are also more likely to commit contact type sexual offences.
Police conducted investigations revealed the following trends for paedophilic interactions between online predators and young male victims:
- cautious introduction of sexual topics;
- enquiries about the ‘boy’s’ sexual experience and physical body; and
- relaying a sexual fantasy with the ‘boy’ playing a central role.
In all but one of the case studies, the following types of overt sexual activities were undertaken by suspects:
- the offender exposed himself (naked) to the child via a webcam;
- images containing pornography are sent to the child;
- requests to meet the child in person;
- describing a sex act or sexual activity with the child; and
- other conversation on the topic of sex
Parents need to be very vigilant what internet sites their young children are visiting and whom they are communicating with on those sites.